As the issue of parental behavior in youth sports continues to be a concern, it is encouraging that organizations such as ESPN and the English FA, among others, have taken proactive steps towards engaging parents about the powerful influence they have on their own child, as well as the general atmosphere of a sports event, through their behavior.
As a parent myself, I can’t recall a time while helping my daughters with their homework that it felt appropriate to scream “WORK FASTER’ or “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” or some other similarly encouraging guidance.
On those occasions I watched them perform in a school play, should they stumble upon their lines or forget their cue, I don’t recall ever standing up in the middle of the auditorium screaming “SAY IT, JUST SAY IT!”.
So, my question to every parent is a simple one – Why would you belittle and embarrass your child when they are trying to have fun and learn?
Believe it or not, there are some parents who think they can positively influence their child’s performance and athletic experience by screaming during a game.
There are others that believe an inquisition on the car ride home is a helpful way to improve their child’s enjoyment and commitment. Then there is the group of parents that believe they are supporting their child by screaming at the officials, opponents, and coaches.
Steel Sports’ Beliefs
At Steel Sports we do not believe ‘Parent Education’ is the way forward. That has failed, and so what we focus on is ‘Parent Engagement’.
We want parents to be part of an actionable solution that gives the game back to the young athletes. For them to recognize that they impact the atmosphere in which the game is played, and ultimately, the experience that that ALL of the participants have.
The most enjoyable youth sports games I have attended have been those where I have had difficulty distinguishing which parents were supporting which team.
At these games, the general behavior is one which encourages all of the athletes, all of the officials, all of the coaches and all of the parents, to have a positive, enjoyable experience.
COMMIT to being part of the solution by putting “KIDS FIRST.” Also, remember the five most powerful words you can say to your child at the end of the game are:
“I LOVED WATCHING YOU PLAY!”
By Steve Jones
Director Steel Sports Coaching System